Welcome back to part two of Tesmanian’s exclusive interview with Ross Gerber, the CEO of Gerber Kawasaki, Sofiaan Fraval from the Third Row Podcast, and Galileo Russell from YouTube's HyperChange. In this second segment, we will be focusing on the distant future of Tesla and what the community could expect from the next-gen automaker in the years to come.
As a recap, the questions Tesmanian asked were as follows:
- When it comes to the Cybertruck, there’s talk that it will create its own niche. What kind of people do you think are in that niche? Based on your answer, how will that type of customer effect the Cybertruck’s sales?
- If there were a Phase 3 of Elon Musk’s Master Plan, what do you think it would entail? What will Tesla do after the Model Y and Cybertruck?
- Tesla Energy is one aspect of the company that doesn’t get much love or attention. In terms of the company’s growth, how significant is Tesla Energy?
- Where do you think the next Gigafactory will be, and why? How will it contribute to Tesla’s growth?
- What do you think needs to happen for Tesla to shake off the majority of its short sellers? How soon do you think Tesla will join the S&P 500?
- Wild Card: When humans go to Mars, what type of societal structure do you think we should set up?
For today’s report, we’ll be focusing on questions #1 and #2, which focuses on the future of Tesla and the plausible predictions, thoughts, and opinions of Gerber, Fraval, and Russell on the subjects.
The Cybertruck’s Niche
When Elon Musk and Tesla unveiled the Cybertruck, there were mixed reactions. On one side, there were people who couldn’t get past its exterior appearance, despite its impressive specs. On the other were people who looked past its 30X stainless steel exoskeleton and concentrated on the all-electric pickup's functional design. Then there was a third segment of people who liked the CYBRTRK because it was just such a gutsy truck to release.
In the long run, more and more people grew to actually like the Cybertruck and its origami-inspired look—or rather despite of it. When its popularity started to gain traction, a few analysts and people watching Tesla predicted that the CYBRTRK would make its own niche, but what kind of people would belong to such a unique category. Gerber, Fraval, and Russell offered their thoughts on the matter.
Question: When it comes to the Cybertruck, there’s talk that it will create its own niche. What kind of people do you think are in that niche? Based on your answer, how will that type of customer effect the Cybertruck’s sales?
Ross Gerber from Gerber Kawasaki: “The Cybertruck will appeal to people who want the best truck. Not everyone wants a modern-looking vehicle, but I think this will appeal to truck and non-truck people, and create an even bigger market for trucks. Truck people drive a long way everyday and will get the best results from owning an EV.”
Sofiaan Fraval from the Third Row Podcast: “Many different kinds of people are in the market for a Cybertruck. Contractors are going to love this tough truck; they can take a sledgehammer to it.
With onboard power and compressed air, they don’t need a separate generator or compressor for jobs. Also, the vault can secure all their tools in the back!
Rideshare drivers are going to be really interested in this vehicle. They can go long distances with 5 passenger seats and a 500+ mile battery electric vehicle. Also, when FSD comes online, they can keep the truck and send it out to work for them with 6 passenger seats, without driving themselves!
Regular people like me and all the people who replied to Elon in his 27K responses about what they want in a truck. Elon made this truck for himself and for everyone else!”
Gali Russell from HyperChange: “Cybertruck has created a new category of vehicle because it is just as practical as it is crazy-looking. I think demand could be well over 100,000 units per year.”
In the end, Gerber, Fraval’s, and Russell’s answer reflected the thoughts of people in the Tesla community and those outside it who still liked the Cybertruck. People who have grown to like and have always loved the CYBRTRK believe that the electric truck’s practicality will make it the vehicle of choice for many different types of companies, like those who offer ridesharing services as Fraval noted.
So Gerber and Russell’s assessments might be right on the nose. In the end, the Cybertruck’s functionality, practicality, and affordability will attract different consumers to it.
Phase 3 of Elon Musk’s Master Plan
In 2006, Elon Musk wrote an article about his game plan for the company. Musk named it The Secret Tesla Motor Master Plan, an ambitious forecast that was notably bold at the time, particularly as the company was yet to produce a single consumer-ready vehicle then, and Musk was not yet CEO. It was basically thus:
- Build a sports car (Tesla Roadster)
- Use the money from the sports car to build an affordable car (Models S and X)
- Use the money from the affordable car to build an even more affordable car (Model 3 and Y)
- While building all those cars, provide zero-emission electric power generation options (Tesla Energy)
Ten years later in 2016, Musk wrote about phase two of his game plan, which was titled Master Plan, Part Deux. Phase 2 of Elon Musk’s Master Plan consists of the following parts:
- Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage (Solar Glass Roof)
- Expand the electric vehicle produce line to address all major segments (Cybertruck—right now)
- Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning (Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suite)
- Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it (Tesla Network's Robotaxi system)
Master Plan, Part Deux is well on its way to being completed, but it won’t be fully finished for quite some time. However, Musk has always been open about his plans for the company. It’s doubtful that he doesn’t already know what comes next. Gerber, Fraval, and Russell gave their thoughts on Phase 3 of Elon Musk’s Master Plan.
Question: If there were a Phase 3 of Elon Musk’s Master Plan, what do you think it would entail? What will Tesla do after the Model Y and Cybertruck?
Ross Gerber from Gerber Kawasaki: “I think Elon has enough to do for quite some time. I think getting solar batteries and cars installed globally should keep him busy.”
Sofiaan Fraval from the Third Row Podcast: “We discussed this in our Third Row Tesla Podcast Episode 3, and I believe Tesla is going to eventually focus on digital services once enough vehicles are out in the wild, while the transition to FSD occurs. Our concept of vehicle ownership will be drastically different in the future, where we could just subscribe to the Tesla service and meet all our transportation, and even energy needs.”
Gali Russell from HyperChange: “Some sort of partnership with the Boring Company. After Model Y and Cybertruck, I think we [will] see the Model 2, an even smaller and cheaper sedan.”
As can be deduced from the answers above, Gerber, Fraval, and Russell had different perspectives to share when they answered Question #2. Their responses may mirror the different opinions people in the Tesla community have about Elon Musk’s Master Plan, Part 3 (Part Trois, perhaps?).
On the one hand, Gerber is right. There is still much to do in Master Plan, Part Deux. However, Russell’s thoughts do have some basis. During the Q2 Annual 2018 Shareholders Meeting, Musk mentioned that he was thinking about Tesla unveiling a compact car or C-segment vehicle. His timeline for the car was five years, which would make its unveiling around 2023.
Fraval’s answer was also quite insightful. Lately, Tesla does seem to be raising the bar for OTA updates and its other software products and services. The automaker released its Acceleration Boost update, a preview for its Full Self-Driving suite, new games for Tesla Arcade, and additional streaming services fo Tesla Theater al in the same month.
biased but I think $TSLA will emerge as a winner. leading in data, hardware and algorythms. the Model 3 they can build for ~$37K w full autonomy today will generate $150K in value over its lifetime ... whether they take that all or give it back to customers TBD 🚕🤖— Gali (@Gfilche) April 13, 2019
Some of the software released weren’t confined to the United States either. China received Smart Summon shortly after Tesla released its 2019.40.50 update in the US. Before that, the automaker also unveiled multiplayer capability to Tesla owners in China via their QQ and WeChat accounts.
Europe received Smart Summon as well. Meanwhile, in Australia, Tesla owners finally received Full Self-Driving with Navigate on Autopilot, without the price increase implemented in the United States in November.
We hope you enjoyed Part Two of Tesmanian’s exclusive interview with Ross Gerber, the CEO of Gerber Kawasaki, Sofia Fraval from the Third Row Podcast, and Galileo Russel from HyperChange. For now, take a bathroom break, grab a snack, maybe even rest your eyes for a bit, and get ready to read Part 2.5 of the interview. When you’re ready, just click on the following link: Tesmanian Exclusive.
About the Author
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.